Raising Will


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21 things a stay-at-home parent might like to know…

A friend of mine recently made the decision to take on SAHM duties full time and asked me for advice. ME! *laughing* I was flattered, but seriously – does any stay-at-home parent have any real clue about what the hell they’re doing?

But seeing as I’m apparently “a master at meal plans and budgets” *more laughing* and thought of by at least one other person as someone that could give advice on being a SAHM *more laughing*, I’ve put together a list of 21 things a stay-at-home parent of young children might like to know. Here goes…

1. You will have more housework to do just from the fact that you and your kids are home all day. More tidying. More dishes. More washing. You may not do it, but it will be there. Unless you have a housekeeper, in which case – send them to my house.

2. No matter how awesome you are, ‘painting’ will always be a pain in the butt to set up for the three minutes that your toddler wants to paint for. So just do it anyway. Their joy is worth it.

3. Online shopping is your friend. As is chocolate, wine and COFFFFEEEE.

4. Buy. All. The. Snacks.

5. Making muffins with your two year old is an experience no parent should miss.

6. One sink of dishes will take ALL DAY to finish, by which time you’ll have another sink of dishes to do. If you can, buy a dishwasher.

SAHM Adventures I

Finally napping | Masking-tape train tracks | There’s a screamy baby on the other side of that door

7. Stickers are the best invention for that one/two/three/four hours of terror that is dinner time. Give your toddler a piece of paper and let them go nuts. Also good is a handful of pipe cleaners and a colander. Simple things.

8. Prepare as much of dinner as you can early on in the day. Slow cookers are fantastic.

9. Buy more snacks.

10. Attempt to set up a safe area outside, so when your kids are going mental you can just show them the door. Add chalk and winner winner chicken dinner.

11. Sleeping when the baby sleeps is an urban legend. Add any number of other children to your equation and you will laugh in the FACES of the people that make this suggestion.

Sleep when the baby sleeps.

Sleep when the baby sleeps…. NOT!

12. Have a stash of little toys hidden to take on outings with you. The ‘new factor’ may just buy you the three minutes you need to ask the shop assistant about that beautiful sequinned dress in the window where are all the freakin’ twin-seater trolleys!? Snacks also work in this fashion. Related: Buy more snacks.

13. Meal Plan. It will save you time and money. I use this one from Kikki.K. Also, write shopping lists – whether you shop online or in-store, with children gallivanting around you will ALWAYS forget something, especially without a list.

14. Secure all your bookshelves to the wall. Nothing will prepare you for the horror of your two year old on its top shelf.

SAHM Adventures II

Washing. Never. Ends. | Painting FTW | Beware the Nap Of Doom!!

15. Get your hands on children’s movies.

16. A steam mop makes me feel so much better about my floors. Do yourself a favour and get one if you have tiles. THE BEST at dissolving all manner of sticky.

17. Try to make your own muesli bars, give up and then buy more snacks.

18. Try and leave the house/kitchen in a state of tidy before you go to bed. You will feel much better about things when you wake up in the morning and can get to the wine coffee without having to move last night’s toast-for-dinner-mess out of the way.

19. Get in the habit of always putting a load of washing on before you go to bed at night, and hanging it out/putting in the dryer when you wake up.

20. Try your damnedest to get to bed at/before 10pm each night. Everything will seem better after a good nights rest.

21. Cuddle your children often. It will keep you from selling them to gypsies.

Get Mum's Attention...

The Truth.

Now I KNOW this list won’t apply to everyone. And just in case you are one of THOSE people that feel like high-horsing it to the comment section, in the words of Adam Hills, ‘Don’t be a dick’. Us SAHPs need a laugh – and if we can’t laugh we have to drink/eat/run. And seeing as I don’t run, well, that just spells danger for my health. So, refrain from soap-boxing in this instance, puh-lease.

On the other-hand, if you’re after some other great bloggy advice for being at home with your cherubs, I confidently point you in the direction of Picklebums, The Organised Housewife, Mummy Musings and Mayhem, A Little Delightful and Patchwork Cactus. Some awesome resources for play (or if you just like to dream of buying all manner of crafty/toy/fun goodness) can be found at Educational Experience. For recipes to get the nutritious stuff into your babes, check out Annabel Karmel and Vegie Smugglers.

And if all else fails, you can sometimes get wine delivered with your groceries. Just sayin…..

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Toddler Meals: easier than you think!

OK. I’ll admit it. For the  first 7 months of his ‘solid-food life’, I fed Will food from a jar.

**awaits scorn and finger-pointing**

Why? I’m lazy. That’s really all it comes down too. That and fact that Will ate so very little and so haphazardly that any attempt at home-cooked meals would surely end up on the floor and/or in the bin. So I jar-ed on, dragging that old ‘mother’s guilt’ bandwagon behind me.

Then one day I decided enough was enough and I needed to start feeding my child real food. Don’t know what changed my mind really. Maybe it was the awesome inspiration that is Annabel Karmel. Maybe it was the fact that every jar meal of Will’s smelt the same. Maybe it was the fact that Will’s growth had always left a lot to be desired… Anyhoo, change was a-foot!

So I went on a mission – to find some delicious toddler meals for the little guy; and there is a plethora of information online – much to my excitement and the delight of Will’s taste buds. For all of those mum’s struggling with ideas as to what to feed their toddler, a Google search will turn up trumps with lots of recipes for your repertoire. But while your here, I’ve put together a bunch of toddler meal ideas to get you started. Check them out! 

I think Will’s favourite addition to his menu are the grazing plates I make up for him. Basically, whatever’s in the fridge/cupboard on a plastic plate for him to go bananas over. He LOVES them – and proves it by proudly decorating his hair with various condiments.

Will's 'Tasty Plate' and fruit smoothie

Will's 'Tasty Plate' and fruit smoothie - also a great snack idea!

 

Lunch Time! Will chows down.

Lunch Time! Will chows down.

 We’ve cooked lots of different meals for him now and I don’t know if this just mysteriously coincided with our change, but Will’s appetite has increased 1000-fold, and I swear he has grown heaps in the last few weeks. He’s sleeping better and arsenic hour isn’t as bad as it once was… All in all – wins all round. So don’t forget to check out Raising Will’s list of Toddler Meal Ideas and I’ll leave you to drool over some of Will’s Cottage Pie…

 

Will's Cottage Pie!

Will's Cottage Pie!..... I may have eaten some of it....

 


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Mealy Monday #10 (on a Tuesday!)

Well yesterday was so busy, with lots of things going on for me and a poor little sick Will I didn’t have time to scratch myself. So much so that I missed Mealy Monday all together – so now we’re having a turbo Mealy Monday on a Tuesday! Hope that doesn’t fry your brain too much, but I guess that’s life with children isn’t it? You can be as organised as you like but as soon as someone gets sick that all goes out the window!

So here’s what the fam will be eating this week:

M: Pork Chops (I was out at a meeting so hubby fended for himself on this one)
T: Spaghetti Bolognese
W: Beef Stirfry
T: Butter Chicken
F: PIZZA!!! Because we haven’t had it for ages!
S & S: Chicken and Leek Pie

 

Will loves food!

Will loves food!

 

Be sure to check out some other handy sites to assist with your own menu planning:

The Organised Housewife

This Week for Dinner

Visit 'Vegie Smugglers'


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Mealy Monday #9

Well hello there strangers! We return from our Tasmanian Holiday!

Will gets ready to trek Cradle Mountain

Will gets ready to trek Cradle Mountain

Fresh off the Spirit of Tasmania yesterday morning, today I have deftly faced two unavoidable problems that come with any lengthy holiday…. the seemingly mountainous pile of washing that has accumulated and a very empty, sad-looking fridge. After popping on a giant load of washing, I quickly got down to my menu plan for this week so I could get to the supermarket and fill my empty shelves – fridge, pantry and otherwise.

But before, I get to that – a quick look at how we fared in Tasmania over the last two weeks! I’ve whipped up a Best & Worst of our Tassie dining, so if you ever head over to the Strait to our most southern state for a bite to eat – you’ll know where to go and where not to go….

BEST BREAKFAST: Without a doubt – Moby Dick’s Breakfast Bar in Stanley. Fantastic, friendly, relaxed service and unbelievable value! If Waffles with grilled banana and genuine maple syrup doesn’t make your mouth water, I don’t know what will…

WORST BREAKFAST: After a horrificly sick boat ride over Bass Strait, I did not at all enjoy my Bakehouse Brekky Roll from Macca’s in Devonport. Mind you, you could’ve served me the best meal I’ve ever had, ever, and it would’ve ended up as worst breakfast winner. Macca’s was closely followed by the breakfast buffet at Cradle Mountain Chateau that set us back $25pp. Left me saying ‘meh’. Obviously, ‘value’ had decided that the Dove Lake Circuit was more worthy of its time and was out walking all morning…. as it does every morning…. and afternoon…. and night…. In fact, you won’t see ‘value’ anywhere near Cradle Mountain Chateau.

BEST LUNCH: We sadly lacked quality in our lunches until the last two days of our Tasmanian adventure. We thought we’d found our winner when we stopped by my cousin’s place for a spot of lunch. Bev whipped up a most gorgeous pasta with pumpkin, spinach, mushys and bacon. It was truly delish and she was certainly holding the Lunch Cup with her kitchen guile… Then on our last day we stopped at the Deloraine Deli in Deloraine. Absolutely fantastic lunch at a great price. Best Vegetable Curry I’ve ever had, and Jarrod’s ‘Ploughman’s Lunch’ was the best value cheese plate I’ve ever seen.

WORST LUNCH: Officially the saltiest tomato soup on the planet was served to me at Lake St Clair National Park Visitor Centre. I almost had to drink the entire Lake St Clair afterwards. Blah! Honourable mention goes to the day we forgot to have lunch. Indeed, I would’ve rather not eaten than had that soup served to me again.

BEST DINNER: This award goes to Felon’s Restaurant at Port Arthur. Fantastic Value, Fantastic Service, Fantastic Menu, Fantastic Everything. Starting with the Pan fried Tasmanian lamb served on a fresh goat’s cheese salad with crisp Turkish bread, I was pleasantly surprised. And when mains came along I was certainly spoilt – Warm pumpkin, Huon Valley mushrooms and feta tart served with fresh salad, poached pear, tempura vegetables and pide bread. All for $39 dollars. Couldn’t fault it (we won’t discuss why the chef decided that ‘tempura’ vegetables suited that particular dish – but it was delicious all the same). Jarrod’s dishes were equally awesome. Special Mention goes to the Leatherwood Restaurant on board the Spirit of Tasmania. If only it didn’t all come back up again…..

WORST DINNER: This was hands-down the easiest title to award. 1964 called and said they wanted their menu back. I was expecting Gordon Ramsay to walk around the corner any second filming an episode of Kitchen Nightmares… We only went to this place because everything else was booked out – and there was a reason this one wasn’t. Over-priced, horrible food, mediocre service and all with a name-saked view that couldn’t be seen in the dark. If in Stanley, avoid the Nut View Restaurant like the plague. Epic Fail…

So with those titles out of the way – here’s what our bellies can look forward to this week:

M: Freezer Night
T: Burritos
W: Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks
T: Beef Sausages with Veg & Mash
F: Scotch Fillet with Salad and Chips
S: Chicken Parmas
S: Oven Baked Fish & Chips

Be sure to check out some other handy sites to assist with your own menu planning:

The Organised Housewife

This Week for Dinner

Visit 'Vegie Smugglers'


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Mealy Monday #8

 Merry Mealy Monday to all! It’s going to be a great week. Our family is all very excited to be heading to Tasmania on Saturday night where we will no doubt be eating lots of delicious food and most likely drinking a few glasses of fabulous wine! Can’t wait. We will pull into Devonport Easter Sunday – so Easter Bunny will have to get his wetsuit on, so Will can get his first Easter Eggs!

But amongst all taht excitemnet is the five days where we will need to eat at home – so menu plan here we come! Firstly though, a recap on last week. We’ve been hit with a cold snap so it called for lots of cockle-warming dishes. Tasty Cottage Pie, Creamy Tuna Mornay, Fruity Beef casserole…. mmmm…. I’m getting hungry just typing about them! I’ve uploaded the Cottage Pie recipe to our Recipes Page so be sure to check it out – along with all of our other featured recipes.

I’ve also uploaded to the Recipes Page the Smartie Biscuits I baked the other week. I whipped up another batch this week with some of the mixture I had in the freezer – they would be great for kiddies during the school holidays. The smarties just make them a little bit special…

Now for our pre-holiday week’s meal plan! Let’s see what on the menu:

M: Garlic Prawns with Rice and Steamed Broccolini (a couple of cold’s have appeared this week – Garlic should give them a knock on the head)
T: Left over Tuna Mornay with salad
W: Butter Chicken
T: Freezer Night
F: Fish and Chips
S & S: Delicious fare from the Isle of Tasmania!

So with that – A reminder that Mealy Monday will return on May 9th, and I hope that everyone gets into the Easter spirit! Se below for some piccies and a few links to my Meal Planning Guru websites!

Perfect for wintery nights: Cottage Pie

Perfect for wintery nights: Cottage Pie

The very delicious Smartie Biscuits!

The very delicious Smartie Biscuits!

The Organised Housewife

This Week for Dinner

Visit 'Vegie Smugglers'


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How to make a Piñata Cake!

My little brother asked me if I would host his 20th birthday this year. Anyone that knows me will KNOW that I won’t pass up an opportunity to entertain, so I picked up the birthday gauntlet and sprinted with it. One of Stu’s favourite foods was Mexican, so there was only one real choice for his party – A Mexican Fiesta!!!! A-reeeeeebah!

There was the typical Mexican fare – nachos, quesedillas, tacos, enchiladas, salsa, guacamole, and lots-a cheese! For dessert, I planned to replicate something I’d seen on Better Homes & Gardens years ago – A Piñata Cake. This cake consisted of a hard chocolate shell and a cake filled with lollies enclosed inside. I sought out a recipe and set to work two days before the party.

Make a Piñata Cake!

Make a Piñata Cake!

The first step was to make the chocolate shell. Finding a bowl big enough and the right shape was relatively easy (we have a gazillion mixing bowls – odd for someone who doesn’t do an incredible amount of mixing). I then melted a heap of chocolate and poured it into my greased bowl, swirling the bowl around so it coated the inside evenly. I then used a spatula to clean up the edges and then placed the bowl aside to allow it to set. I don’t know if it was my bowl, the weather or me being so unbelievably awesome – but as the chocolate set, it magically came away from the bowl, so I had a funky, not-so-little chocolate hat shell! (although a chocolate hat would’ve been extra cool; maybe I can make a chocolate hat for my Easter Party next week).

The next day (Party eve) I mixed up and made the actual cake component. We then carved a hole in the centre, frosted the cake and filled the (unfrosted) hole with lollies. Placing my chocolate shell over the top, disguising the goodies inside, it was then time to decorate. Using some melted chocolate, I covered the shell in a range of coloured chocolatey goods and stuck some candles to the top. Wha Lah! One Piñata cake all ready for Stuart’s fiesta. The rest of our dining area was decorated that night and I was free to cook all the next day (the day of the party), so I could make sure I was ‘present’ for all the fiesta goings-on rather than be tied to the kitchen.

The party went off without a hitch (unless you count chocolate pieces everywhere and Stuart dropping his cactus TWICE!) and the cake was a success. I would highly recommend trying one yourself – it’s the perfect way to bring a little fiesta to your party!

Would you like to make one? Check out the recipe right here!

Stuart's Piñata Cake!

Stuart's Piñata Cake!

Stuart enjoys his cake.... Nom nom nom...

Stuart enjoys his cake.... Nom nom nom...


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Mealy Monday #7

Aloha to the start of yet another week. With Easter just around the corner, I am getting excited about four things: My Easter Party on Thursday 21st (Thanks to Easter Bunny & Tupperware), pretty Easter decos, chocolate and shipping the family over to Tasmania on the 23rd! Woo hoo – so pumped…

Will continues to be a trooper at eating food. Who would’ve thought when he was so terrible a few weeks ago – lol. He’s loving sultanas, yoghurt and toast with peanut butter at the moment – so easy. Imagine if my meal plan consisted of that for the week. I wonder if anyone would notice? Hmm…. I think I’d have one confused hubby.

Last week saw some delicious chicken recipes and an impulse batch of cookies which were amazingly yummmm.You can find the recipe for Lime, Paprika and Honey Glazed Chicken on our Recipes Page.

Onto this week, I’ve planned some wintery-warming dishes because of the chilly weather we’ll be experiencing (is that weird that I check the weather forecast to plan my menu? Hee hee). There’s nothing like a steamy casserole with some crusty bread at the end of a 15 degree day…

M: Creamy Tomato, Pumpkin & Baby Spinach Penne 
T: Cottage Pie with Steamed Broccoli
W: Leftover Pie
T: Sausages with Vegetables, Mash & Onion Gravy
F: Fruity Beef Casserole
S: Fried Rice
S: Tuna Mornay with Green Salad

Merry Monday everyone, and don’t forget to check out the links below to some Meal-Planning Gold Mines….

Lime, Paprika & Honey Glazed Chicken

Lime, Paprika & Honey Glazed Chicken

The Organised Housewife

This Week for Dinner

Visit 'Vegie Smugglers'